University Archives Pre-July 4th Sale a Huge Success!

    University Archives held its Rare Autographs, Photographs, Books PLUS PSA sale this past Wednesday at our Wilton, Connecticut headquarters. The 412-lot sale sparked significant interest. We had over 7,700 approved bidders across our online platforms, including some from as far away as Japan, Norway, and Brazil. We continue to maintain a strong online presence in North America (the United States, Canada, and Mexico), Western Europe (the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland), the Middle East (Israel), and Australia. Collectors eagerly awaited the back half of the sale, which featured over 170 slabbed pieces either authenticated and graded by PSA/DNA and CAG.

    Art & Literature

    The most exciting lot in the entire sale was Lot 79, a framed piece of spectacular Walt Disney memorabilia comprised of two drawings. The first illustration is a lively presentation drawing of Mickey Mouse by Walt Disney himself, rare because the Master often left this task to other animators; and the second is a collage of hand-drawn cartoon characters Daffy, Pluto, Goofy, and others by studio animators. A buyer from Maryland wrested away the piece at a hammer price far outstripping its high estimate of $30,000. All in, the Walt Disney and Walt Disney Studios dual sketches exchanged hands for $46,875, which is the highest sale price for a sketch achieved at a major auction house.

    Lot 79, Walt Disney & Artists' Sketches

    Lot 208 was a 26pp autograph letter signed by Samuel A. Clemens, aka Mark Twain, written in December 1893 while the writer was traveling. Among the more tantalizing snippets of the letter is a reference to Twain’s meeting Bram Stoker, then serving as business manager to celebrated British actor Henry Irving, who would publish his Gothic thriller Dracula just four years later. The letter sold for more than 10% over its high estimate, or $17,500 including the buyer’s premium.

    Lot 221 was a 1p autograph letter signed by Walt Whitman in which the poet reveals the extent of his physical infirmity in late 1887, writing: “With me very much the same ^my power of bodily movement quite gone^ - with that letting down a peg each successive season, before mentioned ^brainpower & c. ab't the same as ever.” Despite his ill health, Whitman is still able to write, mentioning that two works will be or have been published in Lippincott and Cosmopolitan. The letter framed in a handsome display with a portrait sold for more than the high estimate, or $10,625 including the tip.

    Science & Technology

    Lot 228 was a 1p typed letter in German signed by Albert Einstein from April 1932 recounting how his “latest results in general relativity,” and recent work collaboration with Dutch astronomer William de Sitter, had changed his “position on the cosmological problem.” The content of the letter drove its impressive price, which exceeded the high estimate: $28,125 including the buyer’s premium.

    Lot 228, Albert Einstein TLS

    Lot 310 was a 1p typed letter boldly signed by Steve Jobs, PSA/DNA slabbed and graded GEM Mint 10. Jobs, then in his role as Acting Vice President of Marketing at NeXT, Inc., his experimental Redwood City, California start-up, extended an “insanely great” job offer to David Nagy, an Apple product manager, who ended up turning it down. A Nebraska collector purchased the piece for $28,125 including the buyer’s premium.

    U.S. Presidential & International

    Lot 201 was a letter boldly signed by Peter the Great, one of the most coveted of royal autographs, and ex-Charles Sigety. The letter in Russian Cyrillic from October 1710 was sent to Frederick I, King of Prussia and Elector of Brandenberg, the tsar’s future ally in an anti-Swedish coalition during the Northern Great War. The letter went to a Spanish buyer for $13,750 including the buyer’s premium.

    Lot 36 was a wonderful autograph letter signed by Abraham Lincoln in mid-November 1858, in which the future president gives legal counsel to his friend, Martin L. Bishop, regarding a lawsuit involving a ditching machine invention patent. Lincoln’s 70+-word response to Bishop is not included in Basler, and though it is summarized on the “Papers of Abraham Lincoln” website, it does not include a transcript. A Virginia buyer purchased the piece for nearly double the high estimate, or $21,250 including the buyer’s premium.

    Lot 36, Abraham Lincoln ALS

    Lot 307 was a rare item of Lincolniana, of which we have never seen a similar slabbed example on the market: an admission ticket to a session of the Military Commission tasked with trying Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, and other Lincoln assassination conspirators. The ticket is boldly signed by David Hunter, presiding commissioner of the tribunal, and is PSA/DNA slabbed and graded NM-MT 8. It went to a Texas buyer for more than twice its high estimate, or $5,000 including the buyer’s premium.

    Thank you so much for your interest. We’re always interested in hearing from you. Contact us today if you have items like these that you’d like to consign or sell.

    Our next sale is tentatively scheduled for September 6, 2023.